Robert Kirkland Kernighan
Jezebel - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan
Ere her career was interrupt,
Fair Jezebel, that soulless thing !
Had made the Israelites corrupt,
And with her arts debauched their king.
The city of their Lord she drenched
With blood of holy men and true ;
And where the fires of God were quenched,
The bosky groves of Baal grew.
No more the smoke of sacrifice
Rose softly in the holy air ;
Her jeweled hands were like a vise,
That stayed the pulses of a prayer.
She took the vessels : in her pride,
Their fragments on the ground she spread,
And, trampling on them, thus she cried :
' The foolish olden faith is dead !'
The God of Israel heard the word,
And thundered on a castle wall ;
Great Jehu buckled on his sword,
And came in answer to the call.
For when the tares and thistles breed,
And wheat is dead for want of rain,
God keeps His big Heart full of seed,
To sow the barren earth again.
THE KHANS CANTICLES. I 17
So Jehu hastes : his thoroughbreds
Are straining at the bit and trace ;
His casque is bound with golden threads
There is a glory in his face.
And Jezebel beholds him come :
No soul can tell what fear she feels
The sound is not of horn or drum ;
But rush of hoofs and crash of wheels.
Her minions shrink beyond her call ;
The color from her visage slips
The famished dogs beside the wall
Glare in her face, and lick their lips.
One moment, and the queen was wroth !
Another, and her doom she saw ;
She looked below the bloody froth
Was dripping from each wolfish jaw !
A rush a roar a scream of fright
Was ever such a vengeance seen !
And when the darkness fell, that night,
The dogs were kenneled with a queen.
But had she lived, and loveless grown,
She 'd been a convert, stern and good ;
She 'd lead class meetins to the throne,
And prayed for all the neighborhood !
She 'd start some kind of lodge, and screech,
And for the Lord grow very bold ;
She 'd plead, palaver, pray and preach
That 's Jezebel, when plain and old !
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